KILI NO NARA | Léopold Lambert – Studio Catherine Ingraham

Léopold Lambert is editor at boiteaoutils, one of these kind of blogs that always has interesting articles and links. But this time we want to share one of his student project called Kili No Nara, that is an attempt of resistance to the capitalist logics behind Atlantic Yards. The area of Atlantic Yards has been slated for redevelopment in the past, but plans for the area have never coalesced and this project, although refusing these logics as vectors of production tries to include in itself several apparatus allowing it to be elusive to its capitalist environment.

From the design statements:

The strength and durability of capitalism comes from its ability to transform every resistive entity into a merchandisable product. In order for this project to avoid this metabolism, it needs to constitute a territory, an heterotopia rather than an object. Heterotopias are characterized by their entrance/exit processes, their ability to juxtapose several worlds on each other, their material and immaterial filtered exchanges with the normal world and most importantly, their disruption of established rules by the creation of new rules of behaviors provoked by their physicality.

In words of Michel Foucault, an heterotopia can be described with these words: “We might imagine a sort of systematic description – I do not say a science because the term is too galvanized now -that would, in a given society, take as its object the study, analysis, description, and ‘reading’ (as some like to say nowadays) of these different spaces, of these other places. As a sort of simultaneously mythic and real contestation of the space in which we live, this description could be called heterotopology.”

In this project, working on the concept of heterotopia as a physical space hosting imaginaries, Lambert presents an hotel that represents a foreign territory composed by recognizable and ordinary elements. As they explain, is the ambiguity created by this confrontation of known/unknown what allows fantasy to exist within it. The extraction of daily habits triggers imagination and the presence of familiar objects secures enough to give up oneself to his fantasies.

Being part of it is open to everybody, although such an engagement should not be accomplished lightly and the entrance apparatus are created to express, to test one’s will to experience the territory. Either by crossing the continuing and dangerous flux of cars, by finding an entrance behind an ordinary door, by climbing up the roof of a department store or to go down by a subway trapdoor in order to go up to the hotel’s corridors

Those corridors constitutes a Borgessian infinite maze embodied by a mono-material representation of the hotel corridor paradigm, a space extracted from the outside reality, distributing people to each bedroom hosting as many different scenarios.

Lambert has created another apparatus of resistance by establishing an illegibility of the whole territory which depends on an uncertain factor. Part of the project is the design of a funnel canopy that constitutes the vertical limit of the territory. In fact, during the rain, the canopy collects water that then, is stored into ground reservoirs which constitutes an urban wetland and re-introduces the notion of wildness within the city.

Those pools are drawing heat from the subway level and transform part of their water into steam which blurs the perception of distances, forms and behavior of the project. More steam is being produced by the diffusion of water on the bedrooms’ surface transformed by the calorific emission of bodies inside the pods. A variation in activity thus provokes a variation of the amount of steam produced allowing therefore an irrational translation of inside behaviors from the outside, sexual activity producing six times more calories than sleeping for example. A part of this steam is then collected by some epiphyte receptors “growing” on the structural forest and thus re-introduced into the illegibility mechanism’s loop.

The author explains that the hotel’s higher level, only accessible by another frozen paradigm, the elevator one, allows a wandering within the canopy and hosts bath and restaurant facilities in a dialogue between this ambiguous quasi-natural artifact and the noise of the normative world at the same time close and far away.

For a better undersatanding of the project, you can see the film here.

Kili No Nara
Léopold Lambert
Studio Catherine Ingraham / Pratt Institute, New York.

Movie actor: Martin Byrne
extras: Sarah Le Clerc
Kai-Yu Yu narration: Asel Yeszhanova
The market. Excerpt of The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs, Grove Press 2001

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